the blue chair

The last glow of the day above the pine trees across the quiet residential street. I sit on the driveway on this northerly side of the house facing the setting sun in my cheap blue camping chair lined with bright green. I’m catching the remaining light. If I lift my head I feel the last of the day’s warmth on my already sun kissed face. Perhaps it’s sun guilt, but no, I love to be outside after a day’s work. Not doing but being. I can hear the birds in the trees. I don’t know their names but they sing and I’m finally listening. A light breeze moves around me. The world, myself, is brimming. I am alive. I am here. And I am listening. There are distant cars, some that eventually pass, a mechanical whirring from the house, a neighbor’s door that shuts or opens. I am paying attention, you see? To all the little things that don’t seem to matter but they do—all the billions of small things are what make this moment alive, keep it moving to the next. If I was not here to witness it, would it exist? Yes. But not with me. Not in this particular way. Because I am here, observing the uniqueness of what is as it will never be again, not in this way. The warm sun is mine. The driveway and bright chair, the songs of birds, the trees and evening breeze, the distant cars, the home beside me, the snow melt trickling down the driveway soaking into the damp earth on the other side, the dog down the street letting out a single bark.

It’s different when we pay attention. The world is always performing to have our eyes and ears and touch even if only for a moment. “Don’t you see me?” it asks. “Don’t you see how beautiful I am?”

And God is here too, as God always is. But sometimes it’s different, isn’t it? Not the distant belief but the intimate experience of nearness. As if God pulled his own cheap Walmart chair out of its bag and set it on the driveway next to me, sitting down slowly as if also tired from a midweek day’s work, taking his world in with me. We sit in silence, needing no words. We have our world. We have each other. And I believe he’s thinking what I am, “Isn’t it beautiful?” He even takes a sidelong glance at me, thinking also, “And you are beautiful too.”

I wish I would feel you this way all the time. But it’s no matter. I do right now. Eventually you’ll stand up, fold the chair, put it in the bag, and walk away. And I’ll feel alone again. But I’ll be here on the driveway next to the two car garage, sitting in the blue chair with green trim, catching the last of the sun, waiting for you to come again. Like this time, we won’t have to talk. You’ll ask for no apologies or explanations concerning my regretful behavior—why I’ve looked at bad pictures and swear sometimes, and have some beers most nights when I don’t need them, and like nicotine a little too much; why I haven’t read my bible enough, why my prayer life is often stale and difficult, why I’m questioning and doubting and at my worst, full of unbelief. 

You just like having me next to you.

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